Ryan Hartman Paints Much Different Picture of Cole Perfetti and Controversial High Stick

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets
Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild are in the midst of a four-game slide, thanks to a bevy of injuries that have decimated the roster. One of those injured players is superstar Kirill Kaprizov, who has missed three of those losses after being cross-checked by Winnipeg’s Brenden Dillon during the first game of their losing streak.

It just so happened Kaprizov was hurt in the first game of a home and home series vs the Jets over New Year’s weekend. In game 2, Ryan Hartman skated into the defensive faceoff circle and, after the puck was dropped, seemed to deliberately high stick Cole Perfetti in the mouth.

The Cole Perfetti story

The shot to Perfetti’s face called for an immediate exit from the contest so he could be sewn up. No penalty was called but Hartman was fined close to $5,000 after the fact.

From there, the story took off after Perfetti told a local Winnipeg reporter that Ryan Hartman told him later in the game, after Cole had received stitches and returned, that he did it on purpose, as retribution for Branden Dillon injuring Kirill Kaprizov.

“He said: ‘No disrespect, nothing against you, it had to happen. Something had to happen for what happened to Kaprizov there.’ Kind of a weird thing to come out and admit it. He blatantly said it was for what happened (Saturday), even though I didn’t even do anything in the play. I had nothing to do with it. I mean, hey, whatever, it’s all good.”

Cole Perfetti – Winnipeg Jets

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Everyone around the hockey community ran with what Perfetti told reporters in that media scrum. And it caused quite the conversation among the hockey community. Did Hartman go too far, after the NHL allowed Dillon to injure the Wild’s franchise player?

Why did he go after Perfetti, the innocent kid who has already struggled early in his career with concussions and other injuries. Why not go after another star, if that’s what you had to do, etc etc.

Most of the hockey world praised the Jets’ youngster for taking the hit and explanation from Hartman without letting teammates know, until after the game. Even the coach said that, had the rest of the team known that Ryan Hartman high sticked him on purpose, they would have handled the rest of the game differently.

Ryan Hartman paints much different picture

On Friday, Ryan Hartman spoke publicly about his high stick for the first time in an exclusive interview with Michael Russo of The Athletic. In the one-on-one, he is adamant that he DID NOT admit outright to Perfetti that he high sticked him on purpose, as payback for the Kaprizov injury.

Instead, he says it was Perfetti who continued to ask him about the intent behind his high stick. Ryan says everyone in the arena knew Cole Perfetti was mic’d up and he wanted him to admit it on the mic. Finally after being badgered enough, the Wild forward says he told his Jets foe, ‘I’m not gonna say it wasn’t on purpose’.

“It’s written on the wall that he’s wearing a mic,” Hartman told The Athletic after Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. “I know he’s wearing a mic all game. He comes up to me multiple times and asks me if I did it on purpose. And finally, all I told him was, ‘I’m not gonna say it wasn’t on purpose.’

“So I didn’t tell him, ‘Hey, I did that on purpose.’ He kept coming up to me, and I finally said, ‘I’m not gonna say it wasn’t on purpose.’ That was the extent of it.”

The Athletic

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Cole Perfetti not as calm, cool and collected as we thought?

NHL: Winnipeg Jets Minnesota Wild ryan hartman high stick cole perfetti
Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

But the best part of Hartman’s interview was the way he portrayed Perfetti. After being praised for days over how calm he stayed throughout all of Hartman’s aggression and mansplaining, Ryan makes him seem like a spoiled brat who says one thing and acts another.

He claims Perfetti told everybody that he was high sticked on purpose and that Hartman admitted it. That he was trying to be the cool kid in front of all his teammates.

Hartman also took aim at Perfetti for claiming that he kept the supposed admission to himself until after the game.

“I talked to multiple Jets players during the third period, and he told everyone,” Hartman said. “He’s acting like, ‘I didn’t say anything. They made me tell them.’ He f—ing told everyone right away. And then to bring it up into the media, whatever. I’m not going to apologize for high-sticking him. I didn’t see Dillon apologize for cross-checking Kirill.”

The Athletic

I’m not sure who to believe yet, in all this. I just know I love off-ice, off-field, off-court drama. The more, the merrier.

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